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Josef Koudelka, Amman, Jordan, 2012, inkjet print mounted to aluminum, 32-7/8" x 100" image, 35-3/4" x 102-1/2" paper and mount, 43" x 110" x 2" frame © Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

Josef Koudelka

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FRANCE. Paris. Magnum photographer Josef KOUDELKA. 2015. © Antoine d’Agata / MAGNUM Photos

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b. January 10, 1938

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Josef Koudelka began his career as an aeronautical engineer in Prague and Bratislava, where he obtained a Rolleiflex camera and began photographing stage productions for theater magazines.

After documenting gypsy culture in Romania, Slovakia, and Western Europe, he committed to photography full-time in 1967. The following year, Koudelka photographed the Soviet invasion of Prague, publishing his images under the initials "P. P." (Prague Photographer) for fear of reprisal. He was anonymously awarded the Overseas Press Club's Robert Capa Gold Medal for this work in 1969.

Since 1986, Koudelka has embraced and employed the expansive compositional format of the panorama. From his commissioned investigation of the French-English region impacted by the Channel Tunnel for La Mission Photographique Transmanche project, to his exploration of the political climate in Israel and Palestine, and his recent documentation of the persistence of classicism along the Mediterranean rim, Koudelka has continuously used panoramic cameras to showcase terrains that have been significantly shaped, altered, and even devastated by the effects of industry, time, and territorial conflict.

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Josef Koudelka, Spisske Bystre, 1966, gelatin silver print, 20" × 24" (50.8 cm × 61 cm), paper © Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

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Josef Koudelka, Ireland, 1972, gelatin silver print, 13-7/8" × 21-1/4" (35.2 cm × 54 cm), image, 19-1/2" × 23-5/8" (49.5 cm × 60 cm), paper © Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

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Josef Koudelka, Kendice, 1965, gelatin silver print, 20" × 24" (50.8 cm × 61 cm), paper © Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

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Josef Koudelka, Nord Pas-de-Calais, France, 1988, inkjet print mounted to aluminum, 32-7/8" x 100" image, 36-11/16" x 103-3/4" paper and mount, 43" x 110" x 2" frame, © Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

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Josef Koudelka, France, 1987, gelatin silver print, 14" × 21-1/4" (35.6 cm × 54 cm), image, 20" × 24" (50.8 cm × 61 cm), paper © Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

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Josef Koudelka, Prague (watch over street), 1968, gelatin silver print, 9-1/2" x 12" paper © Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos